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Take your chance before the ducks arrive!

Friday, 28 October 2016

Season In The Sun.


This morning I went to let the girls out and feed them as it was too dark for Jon to do it when he went to work.

As I walked down the garden I felt as if I were being bathed in the early morning sun, there was a slight tinge to the sky and with the gorgeous coloured leaves under foot and being rustled by Jake running around me I thought was a lovely start to the day.

After reading a post by Tracey over at Our Smallholding Adventure I considered how I was feeling just now. My boys have been away with the Gramps since Sunday so the day time is sometimes a bit wierd with me being on my own until Jon is home. However, I never have a problem being on my own but with the season changing there is not so much to do outside and I find I really do miss that. I'm so looking forward to getting seeds sown from January in readiness for a new growing year.

I have been meaning to say for a little while now "thank you"  to the new people who subscribe to my little ramblings and also the new followers. For a very short while I could see the gadget but it has, for me, disappeared again although funnily enough I can see it on my tablet!

My boys will be home late on Saturday as we are heading to Abergele to collect them after we go out for some food then to see fireworks with them and the Gramps. I have put up the Halloween decorations in the living room, as you can see, which they will like.




(Ooh my little men when they were in Pre-sshool!)

This one hangs in the kitchen.


Yesterday I went to our monthly cummunity lunch and after being there for just five minutes I was roped in to help serve. All good fun - bangers and mash! I also put my name down to provide potatoes again for the Christmas lunch at the beginning of December. Always a good choice as with Jon being a former trained chef he can turn the spuds nicely for me and I only have to roast them and take them a few steps across the road on the big day!

The cellar room is coming along well. 




The rendering is done and dried and the plaster board is up on the ceiling and the one wall. Jon will start the actual plastering on Saturday morning when I go do the food shopping. All that should be dry by the middle of the week and then painting can commence. After that we will clean the floor and properly enjoy the colours of the tiles for the first time! I have measured up for the gingham curtains and plan on buying the fabric next weekend. Jon isn't starting plastering tonight as we are having a treat meal out for a curry in Aber which we often do when the boys are away but fist time since we have been here so v. excited!

Right, time to fetch the eggs.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Beauty In Utility.

I have been introduced to a new gardening website, you know to order seeds and plants etc. but they have a nursery you can visit, too. Just because something is useful it doesn't mean it can't be pretty; Sarah Moore always says there should be beautiy in utility and I couldn't agree more.

My Go To Guide when it comes to the garden and lots of other stuff gave me the name of some very good pea seeds; I'm desperate to shell our own peas next year!

So I was directed to Victoriana Nursery and you can see what a gorgeous looking site it is. Sooo pretty and inviting.

As I showed in my other post I have bought these bean seeds. They are a favourite of the royals and are marketed as deliciously sweet and heavy producing.


The package is just darling, with the cutest design in the front. When you place your order they ask if you would like them to send you a growing guide or not, but they have everything on the website and there are details on the back of the seed packets, too. so why would you want to waste the paper? When you order something online it doesn't go in your basket it goes in your trug - sweet!

There is the Scarecrow Club which is a one off payment, not a yearly one, which gives you 15% off all orders. The money you pay for the club, £15, is used to assist with school gardening projects which I think it fantastic.

They don't bombard you with seed cataogues but give you the option of printing off or ordering information you really want to read.

I love the honesty of the site. They say this about the garden centre they own -

"We may close early if weather is grotty and miserable, or we 'haven't seen anyone all day' - so if you are journeying from afar and think you will be with us later in the day please call ahead and we will stay open.

Fabulous!

Well, as usual, I have rambled on so will leave you to peruse this wonderful website on your own.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx


Autumn All Around.

Yesterday I really began to feel that Autumn is properly here. The leaves are changing everywhere and the feel of life is changing, too.

I decided to take some photos which showed the season.



The Rayburn is lit daily now, and will soon be doing its thing 24/7, so the log basket is always full and the chopping of the logs is the boys job to do each day after school.



I always have a warm pan on the top of the stove at Christmas time which evokes the festive season and this has cranberries, cinnamon stick, orange, cloves in it and makes the kitchen and downstairs smell wonderful whilst I am busy doing all my Christmas preparation. Well, I did the same thing for Autumn yesterday; orange, apple, dried peach, star anise and cinnamon and it worked really well. Mmmm.





I roasted a butternut squash yesterday, too, and I just love the colour of the skin and the flesh. This will be made into a b.n.squash and lentil soup today.


The gifts of apples keep coming so some of these will go into a pudding for the weekend but I must get on with some apples sauce soon - but I just love the basket full sitting there!


Now we are fully paid up members of the Grow Your Own club a little time of the season is put aside for planning the the next year....


and some more new seeds arived yesterday, but more of that in another post.


In other news, I bought my new diary which I keep in my handbag. I have my household planner and my big calendar but my diary means I always have somewhere to scribble down a note or two. I normally buy a plain diary and then add my own style to it by covering it but I may keeo this pink one for a change.



Yet another baking request was Millionnaires Shortbread so I went ahead and gave it a go on Monday. Turned out quite well and Jon's eyes lit up when he saw it - not sure there will be any left when the boys get back.


On Tuesday Jon finished some re-jigging of Alfie's bedroom and so I took the opportunity to give it a complete top to bottom clean - it took me three hours and all there is left to do is go through toy boxes and DVD's he no longer wants. Of course I have to do Harry's room, too, but we are just giving his a move round and then it will get a big clean, too.

Oh the last thing I think is Bake Off. Really quite sad that tonight it will end as we know it, but as Mary Berry said this morning it has been seven fantastic series. At least to the very end it had the most viewers of any programme on the BBC and goes out being just fab. Can't wait for tonight!

Ramblings done!

Bye for now.

Lou.xx

Monday, 24 October 2016

Hygge Heart-warming Happiness Here!



Whilst perusing Pinterest the other day I came across the word Hygge, pronounced hoo-ga. Without reading the details of the pin I kind of knew what they were getting at, and then it was on the radio today. 

Image result for Hygge

This is a little explantion of what I am talking about.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-34345791

A few reasons I think my family are living a bit of a Hygge life are these;

* as a family we love sitting in the living room by the fire, no TV on (it's in the other room)     and just a side light on.

* there may be music on in the background, some of us may be reading or we are just talking.

* Autumn and Winter just cry out for lushious stew pots or deep filled pies to be enjoyed at our tea time table.

* a pot of tea instead of coffee whilst watching a film, as we did last night.

* snuggled up on the sofa with yummy, fluffy socks on.

As somebody said all of these things can be classed as Hygge but they are all so much better if there is a bit of a storm going on outside to make you feel extra cosy. Friends are a big part of Hygge too but we are more than happy to concentrate on the family side of it.

Do you feel Hygge?

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Know Your Onions!

I don't normally write two posts so close together but what the heck.

Yesterday I had to leave home at 12.30 as it was the boys' swimming gala and I was to take them plus one of Harry's classmates to the pool at Tregaron. Out of the three schools we came third but they all tried their best and will get certificates at the next assembly.

As I had to leave at lunchtime and eat early I thought I'd better get something done outside. Here is what is going on in the Poly House just now; first my salad leaves coming along well



and the beans are close to flowering.


Oh a couple of odd photos. I had been requested to make a cheesecake for the men in the house so here is one I made at the weekend, with foraged blackberries, but the base asked for 400g of biscuits which made it too thick so will change that next time.


and this is Alfie all dressed up to help Jon start work on the cellar store room last Sunday.



They began working on this first stage with all the walls having the flaky paint scraped off. They were both down there again last night and one wall has been rendered. (Can't actually see that in this photo as that wall is behind the door.) Can't wait to get the floor clean and see the colours properly as it won't get all dusty as it is at the moment.


Very exciting as Jon still says it should be finished by next week! I have a vision of red gingham curtains covering the things that will be underneath the stone tops, it will have white walls definitely then I plan on storing spare crockery and my preserving jars until I need them along with jars of things which I have made. We will look for large storage containers for bulk keeping of flour, pasta and rice, too.

Anyhow, in the morning I took a few photos of the veg patch. Here are the leeks which still have some way to go with growing; maybe the cold will help them a little. 



The beetroots are looking a bit better than last week; these are a bit bigger than a golf ball so I'm going to hold out for a bit longer in the hope that they improve before lifting them.



You can actually see the swedes here! I literally only have a couple of these but they are about the size of a small turnip I think.



So the far end is starting to look a bit bare as there are just half a dozen turnips left along with the swede and a few carrots.



It is looking a little bare because.....



I lifted the onions. Eeek! Here they are laid on hessian sacks to dry in Jon's tool shed...



and here is a close up. I think they need a couple of weeks and in the mean time I'm looking for some of those old fashioned but fab string shopping bags to hang up in the cellar room. 



I haven't managed to grow lbs and lbs of them, but I have learned about spacing for the next planting. Our own onions, and next year we will have red, brown and white ones!

This morning, Thursday - how did that happen? - I got the boys looking smart for school photos and then had an email at 9.15am to say they had been postponed until after half-term. Ho hum.

I cracked on and got the yeast started for bread, lit the Rayburn and then I sat and looked through my recipe file seeking some inspiration.


I think I found a few new or different things to throw into the mix. 

After I'd collected the eggs; still getting four or five a day, I started some baking to make use of the oven. I made what should have turned out as Maids of Honour for the school harvest festival but I like to call them lemon curd and almond pop-overs! These will NOT be seen in public!


I also made some biscuits which didn't go as planned either, hey ho! They are about one and a half times to size of my palm but smell really nice and I would make them again but not quite as big!


In between taking the bread out to cool and the baking of the biscuits I went and cleaned out the chickens and managed to fork over the part of the main veg patch so I could put in one row of garlic, and the row was straight, very exciting. Did I mention we are planning on adding another veg bed in the garden when we get some more railway sleepers? That will make a real difference to planting for 2017/18.

It started to spit a little and so came in to do said biscuits and I also made myself a little chicken and lentil curry for lunch. Mmmm.


Then I  have some dusting to do in the kitchen caused by the Rayburn but such is life and I really don't mind. Pork Belly is defrosting then that will go in the Rayburn so it is ready for tea to go with wraps, corn on the cob, salad and some noodles. Not sure what I will be having... may treat myself as I have been so good these last couple of weeks.

Ok I'd better get on with stuff and at least the boys won't mind that the biscuits are a bit wonky!

By for now.

Lou.xx




Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Let Me Entertain You!

Well not me....

but hopefully my youngest. Alfie loves dancing, singing, acting, music and everything else that goes along with those things so I registered his name on the waiting list for the Act Two Stage School which is run at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre, last year I think. (I say school but it is each Saturday in term time for a couple of hours.)

This week I had an email saying a place had become available so we talked to him about it. He flatly refused because he said he didn't want to do things in front of people, just at home, and he also thought that just girls went and he would be the only boy. We reminded him of how fab he was in the Christmas show at his last school, when he had more words than anybody as he was the main narrator, how he didn't fluff his lines and that people constantly came up to me at school to say how wonderful he was.

Anyhow, we left it and I contacted the co-ordinator to say he didn't want to do it but she said we could go along on Saturday and he could give it a try; if he really didn't want to join the school then that was just fine.

A new week and Jon had a little chat with him yesterday and, unbekown to me, offered him a fiver just to go and give it a try and he has agreed! I felt slightly bad that we were bribing him as we are SOOOOO not pushy parents, but we do see on a daily basis that he has some talent that could be nurtured. Only yesterday afternoon he told me he had been given some more words for the Harvest Festival concert thing because he had already learnt his first lot.

Also, this morning he said he wasn't going this Saturday just becasue of the money. He asked if they did street dance and I said maybe and he said what kind of acting did they do and I said some serious but probably some comedy and he really liked the idea of that.

I am confident he will really enjoy it when he gets there because it is the perfect outlet for all that he enjoys doing. Last night he said he wanted to write his own song so Jon showed him how to print sheet music fromthe internet.

We are hoping he wants to stay and take part because he really wants to.

**** Just on the Follower thing I still can't see the list of followers which is very annoying!****

Bye for now.

Lou.xx

Monday, 17 October 2016

Where Has My Follower Gadget Gone?

I can't seem to add the followers gadget to my sidebar. 

Does anybody else have experience of this problem?

Lou.x

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Weekly Wot Nots.

Good afternoon. 

Hoping to get most of this post done and then a couple of jobs before "Da da da da da da da, da da da da da, da da"  - bring it on, Sequin Central!

Most of this post is a catch up of stuff from the week, nothing too exciting but life can't be a "glitter" ball all the time! See what I did there?!

At the suggestion of you know who over at DIFOIW I have started some apple cider vinegar with some of the apples I was gifted.



The jar is a large at least 4 litre Kilner, probably more actually, and I have it sitting in the cellar room, which Jon is talking about starting work on very soon. Eeek!

I love Autumn!! My decorations are up! I normally just put things in the kitchen and the living room. This is the front kitchen window, very happy with this - I just love the colours. The book in the background is a Pretty Nostalgic issue which talks about Windfall recipes.























I took the berry and leaf sprig from the garden, the Gerberas in the terracotta pot are in a plastic bag with water in and I have used twine from my craft things along with a couple of the pots I bought from the vintage shop in Aber. The pumpkin was a really suitable size for the basket from Morrisons at 95p I think.

I always like to put something on top of the microwave to brighten it up. I found these fab gourds in Lidl at 99p I think and I can't bring myself to actually use them as food! The image is from another of my Pretty Nostalgic books being held open by some of the pegs I found in the quirky shop in Borth.


In the living room I keep this tea set out a lot of the time as the colour seems to go with lots of seasons. The books are my Beatrix Potter Squirel Nutkin, the old faithful The Magic Apple Tree by Susan Hill and A Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady - all showing lovely Autumnal images.












On Friday I had a new neighbour and a friend round for cofffee and was very pleased to have these lovely roses on the table.



This week I have unfortunately finished something...



... my yummy fridge pickles I made with our own cucumbers. They were delicious and I may even make some when cucumbers are on super cheap at Lidl as I enjoyed them so much!

We have had a good day in Aber today, makes a change to just going in the food shopping them coming home - bit of a treat really but were also buying extra school trousers and sweaters for the the boys and a few other bits and pieces, and I bought this little lot!



I have a good diet in general but I really do have so much trouble with my joints at the moment Jon says I am grumpy at times and I just need a bit of get up and go now and then so will give these a try - must be my age!!! Jon calls it my permafrost (peri-menopause!) which always makes us both laugh!

We are heading out to the garden in the morning to sort out the area for the fruit trees and get a grasp on some of that cheeky bamboo that has come up in just a couple of places; will share before and afters later in the week.

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend and, as ever, I'll be keeping up to date with stuff going on out there in Blogland.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx



Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Postal Delights And Other Goodies.

Good morning!

On Friday I received a parcel from Thompson & Morgan; it was my garlic cloves and onion sets! They are currently in a cupboard until they are needed. 


The boys and I left Jon at the train on Saturday morning as he went to pick up a car we were buying in Abergele. We three went to do the food shopping and a few jobs in town. I picked up a copy of Smallholing magazine and it came with a chicken mag, too.



I've always fancied taking a look at a copy of this just to see how people do stuff! I was chuffed there was a competition to win some electric fencing but then, darn it, I realised the competition time had run out! I should say that the man who owns the sawmill where Jon works has said we can have some of the piglets when he puts his sow to boar (I think that is the correct term). When home the postman had brought my Grow Your Own magazine, along with my calendar for next year and I love it; this year in addtion to the usual stickers there are fridge magnets!



I was trying to think how long I've been using this particular calendar and it must be about eight years as I know Alfie was born; it is THE best way of organising me and mine.

On Sunday morning I got busy in the garden and sowed a few more cauliflower seeds and finished the garden prep on the bed I had started; carbooard and then polythene topped with a pallet to keep everything flat. Lovely to think the manure will all rot down and hopefully the bed will be a treat for the brassicas once Autumn and Winter have passed.



On Monday morning I weighed myself following the changes to my diet and I found I had lost 2¼lbs. Wish it had been a little more but as least it is a loss.

I set to with a couple of jobs outside once the bread had been started. I finished preparing the spot on the main veg plot by first taking down the last tomato plant, giving it to the chooks then adding the contents of the grow bag to the plot and forking it through ready for the garlic to be planted.



I also put some fleece over the beetroot just to protect them a little while longer before I take them up, thanks Dawn. It isn't the prettiest looking effort but I hope it will do the job. (I have tidied it up a bit since this photo was taken!)



The postman brought more delights. I have been having trouble deciding where to put the washing line/whirly gig when we finally got round to buying one.After dicussion we decided the best thing was to have a retractable one and then it wouldn't matter where it was as we could just pull it back in when not needed, so...



and it is already in full use.

















I had a friend over for coffee this morning, Tuesday, so a couple of hours of garden, craft and other chat and she came bearing gifts of more apples. Yay!



These are awating some attention and may be turned into apple sauce and stored away in my new Kilner jars! The ones given to me at the weekend I have blanched and put in the freezer for another day. 



Just as said friend was leaving the postman delivered my part of the stationery swap I have taken part in. Eeeek!



Washi tape, post-it notes, a note book, stickers AND some cute candles.

This morning I managed to dust the living room before the kids went to school then before my coffee chat put the washing on. I've also got round to sowing a few more Pak Choi seeds, collected the eggs and am currently having a very late lunch whilst writing this post. 

I'm amazed the boys will be home shortly as I'm not sure where the day has gone AT ALL!

Bye for now.

Lou.xx